The Braves have signed former Tiger farmhand Jay Sborz to a minor league deal, with an invite to spring training.
The Braves have a very limited budget left to fill holes in the bullpen and on their bench. They view Sborz as an affordable right-handed option for the 7th and 8th innings.
Sborz was released by the Tigers after having compiled a minor league resume that reads like a power pitcher with control problems. Though Sborz has struck out a batter an inning over his career, including at AAA Toledo last year, he’s also walked close to 6 batters a game. This won’t get it done at the big league level, obviously. Tigers’ scouts are quoted as saying that he has gained better control of his mid-to-upper 90’s fastball recently. When he’s “on”, the fastball can be lethal in combination with his power curve.
Given the current state of the Tigers’ bullpen, I’m sceptical that the Braves have found a right-handed Jonny Venters here; otherwise, I doubt the Tigers would have released him. But you never know how a change of scenery and coaching staffs will work out. Statistics for relief pitchers tend to vary widely from year to year. This would not be the first time that the Braves have made chicken soup from chicken … reliever scraps. Heck, it was a cottage industry under Leo Mazzone. Maybe Roger Craig can start his own “company”